Jurgen Klopp told today how he was about to visit Midtjylland five years ago – but missed out when he was appointed Liverpool boss!
And Klopp was full of praise for the way tomorrow’s Champions League opponents are run as a club.
Speaking to the media this afternoon, he said he had taken an interest in the club and admitted he had planned to visit them before he joined the Reds.
“In my break I was interested in going there or Brentford for a while just to see what they do,” he recalled
“But then I signed for Liverpool so I couldn’t, even five years ago it was an interesting approach!”
He was quick to rule out any suggestions his side will get an easy game at Anfield tomorrow and believes they will pose a serious threat.
“We don’t see Midtjylland as a small team we see them as a real challenger in the group. They earned the right to be here.
“There are no small teams in the Champions League. There are only teams.
“In football, we all love that pretty much anything is possible. They will not wave the white flag. They will do everything they can.”
Another connection between the clubs is Liverpool throw-in coach Thomas Gronnemark.
The Danish athlete used to work with both Ajax and Midtjylland and has been credited with transforming aspects of each club’s game.
Now, as the Premier League Champions come up against one of his former sides, Klopp insisted that Gronnemark is “professional” and wouldn’t give anything away.
“We are the Gronnemark Group!” he laughed.
“We saw his influence when we analysed them, he will be proud.
“Thomas is a professional, he won’t tell us the answers, but he is a super nice guy and he has helped us a lot.”
In injury news, Klopp confirmed Naby Keita, Joel Matip and Thiago are all still unavailable.
The German also said his side are coping “as best we can” without club record signing Virgil Van Dijk.
“Every team in the world would miss Virgil Van Dijk. He is the best centre back in the world.
“You have to build a new line-up, which is difficult to do. Joel Matip was injured too.
“Fabinho as the six plays at centre back. Trent and Robbo, they are all not used to each other, but they will get better with time.
“We don’t expect perfection… but not too far from it.”
One player who will be available is Alisson Becker who returned to action on Saturday against Sheffield United.
The Brazilian goalkeeper said at the press conference that Fabinho will be adequate cover for Van Dijk.
“Fab is a fantastic player he is doing well at centre back, but we will miss VVD we cannot deny that and we cannot change how we play, we will miss him.”
The 28-year-old also spoke of his own recent injuries and how he managed to come back much sooner than expected – thanks to the power of prayer.
“It’s good to be back I’m really happy, I try to be my best and I have top physios to help me with my recovery process.
“When the doctor said 4-6 weeks, I said no 2-3 maximum.
“I just want to thank the physios, fitness coaches and goalkeeper coaches.
“I prayed a lot, seriously.
“Also, I did a lot of treatment sessions every day for 5-6 hours with the physios and fitness department and after two weeks with the goalkeeper coaches and then I started to dive on Friday I gave the green light to the boss to play.
“Working hard helped me with my fast recovery.”
However, such a quick recovery has raised doubts around his return.
When asked about whether or not he is pain free, Alisson admitted that he can still feel some of the affects from his most recent injury.
“Every injury on ligament, shoulder ankle or knee it is not pain but it feels weird but nothing that puts limits on my game, I feel good.”
Liverpool take on Midtjylland tomorrow night with kick-off at 8pm.
The reds will be hoping to make it two wins in as many games in the group before they host West Ham in the Premier League on Saturday evening.